cu boulder aerospace engineering courses

The University of Colorado Boulder Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences is located in Boulder, Colorado on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world. Boulder has one of the highest per-capita concentrations of highly educated workers and high-tech companies to be found anywhere. It’s a great place to study, to work, and to live.

Why choose CU Aerospace?

  • The hands-on learning experience and facilities are world class.
  • Faculty attend all labs and actively support student learning.
  • Award winning professors with honors for teaching and research.
  • Two former NASA astronauts on the faculty teaching space from personal experience
  • The program was ranked 3rd in the country in the most recent National Research Council assessment of research-doctorate programs (quantitative regression analysis).

Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences particularly encourages applications from students who would broaden the diversity of our graduate community. We know that diversity is essential to academic and workplace success and we are committed to creating an inclusive and collaborative community.

cu boulder aerospace masters

The Professional Master of Science (ProMS) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado is designed for working engineers and people who want to pursue a career in the aerospace industry. Our fully online master’s program is housed within the globally-recognized Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences — a hub for our nation’s aerospace education and research efforts.

Throughout your degree, you will learn from award-winning faculty, tackle real-world problems for industry leaders, and graduate ready to lead the future of space discovery. From designing autonomous systems to expanding humanity’s presence into deep space, you’ll be empowered to build your technical expertise and develop creative solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.



Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


University of Colorado Boulder


  • In State
  • Out of State

Cost Per Credit:



October 1, 2022



Program Details

Ranked among the top four graduate programs in the country by the National Research Council, the University of Colorado Boulder’s Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences is internationally recognized for its research and education leadership in aerospace engineering. Our students, graduates, and faculty are advancing the frontiers of aerospace engineering and space science. Together, we are tackling the biggest challenges in the field, including improving how we study the Earth and orbital debris, how humans can sustainably expand deeper into space, and how we can design the next generation of vehicles for transportation on Earth and exploration throughout our solar system.

Our professional master’s degree was designed in partnership with industry leaders to ensure that you’re learning cutting-edge technologies and gaining the real-world experience you need to launch your career. We apply a collaborative approach to both research and education, emphasizing experiential learning, teamwork, technical expertise, and system-level multidisciplinary thinking. With former NASA astronauts and industry-experienced faculty leading the way, our program is unmatched in its rigor and fidelity to how private industry and federal agencies operate. Whether you’re interested in joining a government agency, leading a research laboratory and teaching the next generation, starting your own company, or becoming an astronaut, the ProMS in Aerospace Engineering will help you reach your unique career goals.


Ranked public aerospace graduate program


Public university in NASA research funding


of students have job or research offers within six months of graduating


Alumni and faculty have flown to space as NASA astronauts


As a professional master’s student, you’ll earn the same Master of Science degree as a traditional master’s student but will benefit from an affordable, coursework-only option designed for working professionals who desire a more flexible and customized degree. With a professional master’s program:

  • Many students already have experience as an engineer in industry or the military.
  • The program is flexible — a focus area is not required.
  • You can take 100% of classes online.
  • You don’t have to write a thesis.

A huge benefit of the program is that classes from across the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences and the entire college of engineering can count toward your degree. You can choose to pursue your degree within one of our five research focus areas, or mix together classes from multiple focus areas in order to meet your unique career goals. Thirty credits are required for your professional master’s, but only 18 of those credits have to be in aerospace.

Our five focus areas include:

  • Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation Systems — Investigate the orbital motion of spacecraft, interplanetary mission design, attitude control, as well as navigation utilizing GPS and advanced sensors.
  • Autonomous Systems — Study a variety of future-focused disciplines including robotics, human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, unmanned systems, and estimation and control theory.
  • Bioastronautics — Learn how to design and enable safe and efficient human space exploration.
  • Fluids, Structures, and Materials — Study the solid and fluid mechanics behind high-performance aeronautical and aerospace systems.
  • Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Science — Bridge the gap between science and engineering by exploring Earth from space and space from Earth.

Cu Boulder Aerospace Engineering Courses

Contact the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department for specific degree requirements corresponding to a particular catalog year.

128 semester credit hours are required to complete this degree.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester14  Credits
APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers4
Engineering Projects Course3
CSCI 1320 Computer Science 14
HSS Elective*3
Spring Semester17 Credits
APPM 1360 Calculus 2 for Engineers4
PHYS 1110 General Physics 14
ASEN 1022 Material Science for Aerospace Engineers3
HSS Elective*6

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester17 Credits
APPM 2350 Calculus 3 for Engineers4
ASEN 2001 Intro to Statics, Structures & Materials4
ASEN 2002 Intro to Thermodynamics & Aerodynamics4
ASEN 2012 Experimental & Computational Methods2
Free Electives3
Spring Semester17 Credits
APPM 2360 Diff Eq w/ Linear Algebra4
ASEN 2003 Intro to Dynamics & Systems5
ASEN 2004 Vehicle Design & Performance5
Upper-division HSS Elective*3

Junior Year

Fall Semester16 Credits
ASEN 3111 Aerodynamics4
ASEN 3112 Structures4
ASEN 3113 Thermo & Heat Transfer4
PHYS 1120 General Physics 24
Spring Semester15 Credits
ASEN 3128 Aircraft Dynamics4
ASEN 3200 Orbit Mech/Att Dyn & Control4
ASEN 3300 Electronics & Communications4
Professional Area Electives3

Senior Year

Fall Semester16 Credits
ASEN 4013 Foundations of Propulsion3
ASEN 4018 Senior Projects 14
Professional Area Electives 6
College-approved Writing Course***3
Spring Semester16 Credits
ASEN 4028 Senior Projects 24
Professional Area Electives6
Upper-division HSS Elective*3
Free Elective3

* When selecting humanities and social sciences (HSS) electives, students should consult the college’s degree requirements in this area.

** Programming is an implicit prerequisite for all ASEN 2000 level courses or greater. MATLAB is used extensively in the ASEN courses.

*** A list of college-approved writing courses can be found on the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Writing page.

All prerequisites must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.

cu boulder course catalog

Course descriptions may be found in the University Course Catalog. 

Required Courses / Semester Credit Hours for New Students in Fall 2019 and after

Freshman Year 

Fall Semester – 15
APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers  4
GEEN 1400 Engineering Projects/ASEN 1403 Intro to Rocket Science  3
ASEN 1320 MATLAB and C++ Programming  4
Lower-division Humanities/Social Science Elective  3
Free Elective 1

Spring Semester – 17 
APPM 1360 Calculus 2 for Engineers  4
ASEN 1022 Material Science for Aerospace Engineers  3  
PHYS 1110 General Physics 1  4
Lower-division Humanities/Social Science Elective  6

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester – 16 
APPM 2350 Calculus 3 for Engineers  4
ASEN 2001 Aerospace 1: Intro Statics, Structures, Materials  4  
ASEN 2002 Aerospace 2: Intro Thermodynamics, Aerodynamics  4  
ASEN 2012 Experimental & Computational Methods in AES  2  
Free Electives (ex: COEN 2350 and APPM 2450)  2 

Spring Semester – 18  
APPM 2360 Intro Diff Equations w/Linear Alg  4
ASEN 2003 Aerospace 3: Intro Dynamics & Systems  5
ASEN 2004 Aerospace 4: Vehicle Design & Performance  5
PHYS 1120 General Physics 2  4 

Junior Year

Choose any three ASEN 3000-level courses each semester. *NOTE: PHYS 1120 is a prerequisite for ASEN 3300.

  • ASEN 3111 Aerodynamics
  • ASEN 3128 Aircraft Dynamics 
  • ASEN 3300* Electronics & Communications
  • ASEN 3200 Orbit Mech/Att Det & Control
  • ASEN 3112 Structures
  • ASEN 3113 Thermo & Heat Transfer 

Fall Semester – 15  
ASEN 3***  4
ASEN 3***  4
ASEN 3***  4
Upper-division Humanities/Social Science Elective  3

Spring Semester – 16
ASEN 3***  4
ASEN 3***  4
ASEN 3***  4
Professional Area Electives  3 
Free Elective  1  

Senior Year

Fall Semester – 16 
ASEN 4013 Foundations of Propulsion  3
ASEN 4018 Senior Projects 1: Design Synthesis  4  
Professional Area Electives  6 
Upper-division Writing  3  

Spring Semester – 16 
ASEN 4028 Senior Projects 2: Design Practicum  4  
Professional Area Electives  6
Upper-division Humanities/Social Science Elective  3
Free Electives  3

Courses selected must meet humanities and social science requirements as detailed on this page. Up to six hours of humanities and social science credit can be taken pass/fail. You must submit a petition to request your humanities course be taken on a pass/fail basis. Please check your Degree Audit to make sure you are following the course sequence matching the year you began in the Aerospace Program.

Professional Area Electives

  • Any ASEN course at the 4000 level or above that is not a required course can be used as a professional area elective.
  • A professional area elective is generally a course in math, engineering, or science at the 3000-level or above. These classes are select 3000, 4000 and 5000-level math, science and engineering courses (with the exception of CSCI, ECEN, and PHYS where certain 2000-level courses are also accepted). Elective courses most likely to help your career development are ASEN, math, CSCI, ECEN, and physics courses. It is suggested you secure advance approval for professional area elective courses from your  advisor.
  • Independent study is acceptable for up to 6 credit hours of professional area elective credit.

Leave a Reply